Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yousuf’s bail plea accepted

New Delhi, March 12

The bail plea of photojournalist Kamran Yousuf, who was arrested by NIA on Sept 4 for colluding with the stone pelters, has been accepted. The NIA in its charge sheet against the 20-year-old freelancer said he was not a ‘real journalist’ because he didn’t cover “any developmental activity of any government department/agency, any inauguration of hospital, school building, road, bridge, statement of political party in power or any other social/developmental activity by state government or government of India.” A resident of Tahab, Pulwama in south Kashmir, Kamran was booked by NIA under rigorous sections though there is no case against him in police records in Kashmir. Kamran’s case came up for the hearing for 19 times since his arrest and but his bail plea was finally accepted today, his uncle Irshad Ganai said. ”Our lawyer today informed us that Kamran’s bail plea has been accepted,” Ganai said.  ”I am leaving for Delhi tomorrow by the earliest flight to deposit bond for his release.” Ganai said they were happy that Kamran is being released. The budding photojournalist’s arrest by the NIA was seen as an embarrassment for PDP government since Kashmir police had not charged him with any offense like stone pelting or colluding with them. International human rights agencies like Amnesty International and journalism organisations like Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) took notice of his arrest and urged the Central government to set him free. CPJ urged the Centre and NIA to “immediately drop charges” against Kamran and called for his release. The journalist from Kashmir in one of the press conferences by Union Minister Rajnath Singh raised his arrest and sought Singh’s intervention in his case. The acceptance of bail application of Kamran came two days after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet said she spoke to Singh about Kamran and sought his release. “Spoke to Home Minister @rajnathsingh ji to look into Kamran Yousuf’s case. I’ve requested him to intervene so that the life of a young budding journalist doesn’t get ruined,” Mehbooba tweeted.

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